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Alley Song

Dreamed 1994/4/21 by Chris Wayan

I'm in a maze of little alleys thrumming to a hipster beat. Little theaters and clubs and famous companies of actors and dancers... all the ones in San Francisco history, sifted down somehow into the now. Isadora Duncan dances with the Pickle Family. Old comedy teams from vaudeville open for the team of Lenny Bruce and Robin Williams, and Dobie Gillis.

...and Dobie Gillis? Who the hell was Dobie Gillis?

Snap your fingers, suddenly there's no choice. I'm caught in a 1940s Hollywood musical scene, here in the alley. I just have to meet and greet and move to the beat with all the movie greats. And not-so-greats.

Like Dobie Gillis.

The music in the background is familiar... it grows from drums to a haunting song, with a very original and disturbing chord progression.

Then I recognize the singer. Me. Singing the story of a dream! That guitar, which sounds quite skilled, is really a skeletal melody picked out on the synthesizer and overdubbed with the missing notes until it sounds like one fluid player strumming. Done on an old dubbing tape deck. That background chorus, which I heard as two woman and a big guy singing bass, is just three of me singing falsetto and deep. That haunting song, the alley song, is the song of me making something from nothing. Well, from no money and no skills and no equipment and no band. Just a vision.

Dobie Gillis, huh? If there was room for him, and all the other bland, silly, derivative artists who made a living at it... there's room for me. What a coward I've been. Do it.

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